By Brian Ball, President, Nikka Densok USA
No matter how carefully a pharmaceutical product container is prepared, it is still unsafe for human use if the container has a pinhole or defective seal. These containers are commonly kept in environments with varying temperatures, which can directly impact the product inside. For example, if the environment is too warm, the solution or product may expand, and if the container is defective, there may be a leak from a pinhole or defective seal. Conversely, if a defective container is stored in too cold of an environment, the solution can shrink back into the container bringing with it such contaminants as bacteria from the exterior of the container, thus contaminating the product.
There are a variety of methods widely used to detect pinholes and defective seals in containers. These include vacuum or pressure decay tests and submerging the entire container into a dye solution under pressure to visually inspect for the presence of dye. Most of these tests are destructive to packaging components and cause the loss of good product. In some cases, more advanced vision systems also can be used to inspect for certain defects in the container.
High Voltage Leak Detection (HVLD), a technology first applied to pharmaceutical manufacturing in the 1970s, does not destructive to packaging components or cause the loss of good product like other inspection methods. HVLD is capable of handling any product as long as the container is made of electrically insulated material and the product contains an electrically conductive solution. In this article you will learn more about other packaging applications that can be inspected with HVLD.